Who were those masked men?
By Right Illustrious Companion Clyde H. Schoolfield, Jr.
Deputy Grand Master, Grand Council of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Festival
Front row: John L. Logan (Deputy General Grand Master – South Central Region), Robert G. Davis (Deputy Grand Master of Masons in Oklahoma), Bobby J. Peters (Grand Master of Masons in Oklahoma), John D. Church (Grand Master of Cryptic Masons in Oklahoma), and Clyde H. Schoolfield, Jr. (Deputy Grand Master of Cryptic Masons in Oklahoma).

Back two rows: The newest Cryptic Masons in Oklahoma.

With so many Masonic activities having been curtailed, if not suspended outright since earlier this year, it will certainly take some time for us to return to normalcy. However, a gradual return appears to have begun. Regular meetings, whether in-person or electronic, are now being held in most jurisdictions. This heavy reliance on electronic “virtual” meetings may become a sort of new normal for us for a while.

Of course, we are all looking forward to a time when regular degree conferrals will return to all jurisdictions. While this will be different from state to state and will certainly be dependent upon the approval of the Grand Master of Masons in each state, degree conferrals are gradually coming back.

For example, during the early part of October, we held regional conferrals of the Mark Master and Past Master degrees in four different locations in central and western Oklahoma. Then on October 24th, the newly made Mark and Past Masters from these conferrals travelled to Oklahoma City to receive the Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch degrees, which were followed by conferrals of the Royal Master and Select Master degrees.

This was the first time that we had conferred any of the Capitular or Cryptic degrees in Oklahoma since February. The teams may have been a bit rusty, but the degrees were indeed a sight to behold. In accordance with the directive of the Grand Master of Masons, everyone in attendance wore a face covering and maintained as much social distancing as possible. Surprisingly, this only required some very slight modifications to the Royal and Select Master conferrals in order to comply.

In addition to the candidates and four degree teams, there was a sizable contingent of other Cryptic Masons in attendance. This confirms what we have discussed before that regular conferrals and exemplifications of the Ritual is an excellent way to introduce Cryptic education into your Council meetings, while also improving attendance along the way.

If you’re not yet able to hold degree conferrals, think about how interesting it would be to exemplify the colloquy between Hiram Abiff and the candidate from the Royal Master degree at one of your Council meetings. This could be followed by a discussion of the various possible symbolic interpretations of the phrase: “It will be buried ...”

Or how about having a member read the historical lecture of the Select Master degree. This could be followed by a discussion of the symbolic significance of the “Secret Vault” and the “Circle of Perfection.”

Too often many of our members-only see the Ritual once when they are candidates. But we know that repeated exposures to the Ritual brings new insights every time it is seen. So lets all dust off those old Rituals and get back to work!

Links to a number of helpful resources to make education a part of your Cryptic Council experience may be found on our regional website:

https://sites.google.com/site/southcentralyr/